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Arnold's Secret Child; New Al Qaeda Leader?

Aired May 17, 2011 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.

We begin tonight with the latest on the stunning news about Arnold Schwarzenegger, one of the most recognizable faces on the planet, a superstar actor and former governor of California. Today, we learned that Schwarzenegger, who once called family the basic foundation of everything, had a child out of wedlock and hid that child for years, not just from voters, but from his own family, his own wife, his other children.

We learned today it was perhaps the central reason why Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver, seen here in better times, announced their separation last week after a quarter-century years of marriage, Schwarzenegger today admitted he fathered a child with a member of the household staff.

Quote: "After leaving the governor's office," he said in a statement, "I told my wife about this event, which occurred over a decade ago."

He went on to say: 'There are no excuses and I take full responsibility for the hurt I caused. I have apologized to Maria, my children and my family. I am truly sorry."

Later, this statement from his wife: "This is a painful and heartbreaking time," she said. "As a mother, my concern is for the children. I ask for compassion, respect and privacy as my children and I try to rebuild our lives and heal."

There are additional details tonight, "The New York Times" reporting tonight the child is a boy. He's now 14 and his mother, again, according to "The Times," was pregnant with him at the same time as Maria Shriver was pregnant with their youngest child.

"The Times" also reporting that the boy was an occasional presence at the Schwarzenegger-Shriver home.

There have of course been rumors about Schwarzenegger for years, stories of infidelity and inappropriate behavior. During his first campaign for governor, he was accused of groping women. This is how he responded back then.


ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), FORMER GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA: I always say that wherever there's smoke, there's fire. That is true. And so I want to say to you is, is that, yes, I have behaved badly sometimes.


COOPER: Well, two days after he made that statement, Maria Shriver launched a public campaign of her own supporting her husband in the crucial final days of the campaign.


MARIA SHRIVER, FORMER FIRST LADY OF CALIFORNIA: So, in the end, in these final 48, 72 hours, you can make a decision. You can listen to all the negativity and you can listen to people who have never met Arnold or who met him for five seconds 30 years ago, or you can listen to me.


COOPER: Well, that was in October nearly eight years ago.

What she apparently did not know then, and that we just learned today, is that the child her husband fathered with someone on the household staff would have already been a toddler at the time or older if the "New York Times" version is correct.

Two years before that, he was railing, Schwarzenegger was railing against single parenthood to, saying, "I think the situation with single parenting is disastrous." He was talking mainly, but not exclusively, about poor inner-city parents and kids.

He also said, regardless of wealth and parental resources, single parenting is bad for kids.

We will talk about that tonight, as well as why women stick with men despite some warning signs.

First, though, how we got here, what we know.


COOPER (voice-over): ... like a bomb in the state of California in this morning's "Los Angeles Times" -- "Schwarzenegger fathered a child with longtime member of household staff."

The woman who had the affair and the child with Schwarzenegger had worked for his family for about a decade at the time of the affair and only recently retired. A source told CNN that Schwarzenegger had financially supported the child since birth.

When "The L.A. Times" began asking questions about the child, the mother told the paper as late as yesterday that another man, her husband at the time, was the father. She also said she was leaving her longtime job with the family because -- quote -- "I wanted to achieve my 20 years. Then I asked to retire." The staffer's cover story about the father fell apart when Schwarzenegger claimed paternity. The woman, who has been identified, has had no further comment.

Allegations of affairs occasionally surfaced throughout Schwarzenegger's eight years in office, but none seemed to threaten his seemingly storied marriage with wife Maria Shriver. They married in 1986 and, as a couple, have four children. Schwarzenegger told his wife about the child after leaving office in January. And since then, he and Shriver have effectively lived separate lives, according to the "L.A. Times."

He's been trying to revive his film career, interested in making sequels to "The Terminator." And he's globe-trotted to Brazil with director James Cameron, to Cannes to be honored by France's culture minister, and to Washington to participate in a conference on immigration with President Obama, trips he took all reportedly without his wife.

Three weeks ago, the couple marked a milestone, 25 years of marriage, normally a call for celebration. But then last Monday, they announced they were amicably separating. She was moving out of their Brentwood home and they released a joint statement that read in part: "This has been a time of great personal and professional transition for each of us. After a great deal of thought, reflection, discussion, and prayer, we came to this decision together. At this time, we're living apart while we work on the future of our relationship."

Just a day after that announcement on Tuesday, Schwarzenegger seemed to suggest the couple was trying to work through issues that led to the separation.

SCHWARZENEGGER: We both love each other very much. We're very fortunate that we have four extraordinary children. And we're taking one day at a time.

COOPER: "The L.A. Times" reports Shriver was less optimistic. She had been unhappy in the marriage for years, "The Times" reports, and was simply waiting for her husband's term to end before splitting.

Today's bombshell has likely only deepened the divide between the couple. Shriver issued a statement today calling the latest news heartbreaking. In addition to the separate statements from Shriver and Schwarzenegger, the couple's children also are speaking out on Twitter.

Out of all the doubts and questions Schwarzenegger's family must have had, one of the biggest is also on the mind of a nation: How could he keep this secret for so long?


COOPER: Well, joining us now is former "L.A. Times" writer Joe Mathews. He's author of "The People's Machine: Arnold Schwarzenegger And the Rise of Blockbuster Democracy." Also joining us, Jessica Yellin, who has been covering Schwarzenegger for years, and on the phone, Candy Crowley, who was on the Schwarzenegger bus back in 2003, when those multiple grope allegations came to light.

Jessica, obviously, longstanding rumors of womanizing are one thing. A secret out-of-wedlock child is something else entirely. How big of a surprise was this revelation? You have covered him for a long time.


So, I have spoken to a lot of politicos and Hollywood insiders today who, to a person say, eh, not that surprised. I'm sort of shocked by that. They say, look, the fact that it was a housekeeper, the fact that there's a child, that is startling and was well covered- up, but that it was a general understanding that he had a problem with womanizing and that it was sort of baked into his image and what people know about him, especially in his community in L.A.

Now, there are even people who are saying this is not going to hurt his movie career going forward. Men behaving badly seem to do OK. It will hurt any political aspirations he should have, but he left office with a terrible approval rating, in the mid-20s. So any further aspirations would have been pretty slim anyway.

COOPER: Yes, Joe, you covered Schwarzenegger for a long time. How -- did it surprise you, and did he -- how did he manage to keep this under wraps so long?

JOE MATHEWS, FORMER "L.A. TIMES" WRITER: Well, you had a situation where the woman was married at the time. He was married. They both had a reason not to tell anyone. And they were the people to know.

I don't think it's terribly surprising this was a secret for a long time. Politicians -- while we reporters love to think that we know all, we don't. We often know very little. And this was the case here.

I think, in this -- in this particular case, I was surprised by the announcement of a separation. These are two people who are both very invested in this marriage, not just for all the personal reasons, but because the narrative of the marriage, this marriage between two very different people who, despite their struggles and problems and differences, managed to make it work, that narrative of the marriage is something they both sold and prospered from in their professional lives.

So, they have a lot of reasons not to get -- not to get divorced, not to split. But the news that he -- involved with a woman who was not his wife was not surprising. And this is not someone who has run as a public moralist. This is not someone who ever promised in politics to be faithful to his wife or was faithful in the past or would be in the future.

This was not a Bill Clinton who wagged his finger. This was someone who actually -- whose public and political persona was as someone who was a little bit naughty. And even in that 2003 campaign, you know, we saw that.

COOPER: Right.

Candy, you were there. I mean, you covered the campaign at the time of those multiple groping allegations. A., does this surprise you? And does it surprise you that it was kept secret for so long time?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it doesn't, and I think for reasons just talked about, which is that if you have people that are vested in keeping quiet, then they can keep it quiet.

And so, if you have a woman who is married to someone else, who is having his baby, she apparently was getting child support all of this time, perhaps there was an accountant involved somewhere along the line, but he also has a vested interest in staying quiet.

And there's a difference between the aggrieved women that "The L.A. Times" reported in great detail, like five, six days -- it was less than a week before the recall vote in California. And he had started a huge, big bus tour that day that we were on with lots of Hollywood folderol and stopping in several cities.

And this story just came up that morning on the front page of "The Times," and by the time it was all over -- because there was a story after that as well -- I think there were, like, 20 women or something, and it was pretty disgusting behavior.

And he said, no, he didn't do it. And then he said, well, you know, it's Hollywood and it's gyms and I was sort of bawdy. And so I apologize if people were offended.

But the difference between those women and the mother of this child is that they were aggrieved and angry, and she obviously didn't even want to talk as late as yesterday. So, it -- you know, again, it's not surprising. If people don't want to talk, it's hard to find out.


Jessica, how -- do we know how Maria Shriver is doing?

YELLIN: I have been in touch with somebody who is very close to her and says, basically, that she -- has said she is not adrift, that this was an act -- leaving him was an act of an empowered woman who knows what she wants and the kind of life she wants to lead.

And the basic bottom -- the bottom line there is, look, this woman didn't stand by her man, but I should add, as a caveat, once this latest revelation happened and only after he left the governor's office.

You know, there's been a lot of talk about Maria Shriver lately, because, once she announced the split, there was this YouTube video that came up where she looked emotionally raw and talked about transitions. And the people close to her say, this is who she is. She's planning to pursue a sort of journalism/activism career, next step, where she opens up and talks about raw emotions like this. And this is what we should expect from her.

The one thing I would add, Anderson, is that there is a degree of shock that the topic is now Maria Shriver. So, less than 24 hours after we find out about this shocking, disgusting behavior by Arnold Schwarzenegger, there's so much focus on, what did his wife know, when did she know it, is she to blame, rather than taking a good beat, pausing and saying, what he did was disgusting; he is to blame. Let's give it another day before we look at what the woman's role was.

COOPER: Joe, the vice chairman of the California Democratic Party is calling for an investigation into whether or not Schwarzenegger used campaign or government resources to silence women. Do you think this is just political posturing, or is there any reason to believe there is something actually there?

MATHEWS: Well, I don't think we know a lot. There's no particular reason to believe it.

And it's -- this is a state with not a lot of money and has some pretty serious problems, probably doesn't want to spend a lot of time investigating what a former governor may or may not have done.

But there have been -- Schwarzenegger is one of these people who has always attracted all kinds of stories and rumors. Covering him was incredibly frustrating, because you would get two calls in an hour, one telling you about the strange thing someone had seen him do in Washington, D.C., and the next about the strange thing someone had seen him do across the street in Sacramento.

And he couldn't have been in both places at the same time. So, sort of a chase for all the particulars of this is unlikely -- you know, it's unlikely to happen. It's unlikely to happen to bear very much fruit.

And, also...


COOPER: Do we know how -- do we know why the story came out now? Do we know how it came out, if -- if the woman involved didn't have a reason to bring it up and, as late as yesterday, I guess, was telling one story to "The L.A. Times," do we know how it got revealed?

MATHEWS: I don't know.


Jessica, what -- do you know?

YELLIN: Well, the -- the read I'm getting is that they had a tip. "The Times" knew something and was pushing it and Schwarzenegger finally came out with a statement of his own. And so while the housekeeper didn't want to speak, Schwarzenegger finally came clean. And that opened this all up.

COOPER: All right, Jessica, Candy, appreciate your time. Joe Mathews as well, thank you.

Let us know what you think. We're on Facebook or follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper. I will also be tweeting tonight during the program.

Up next: politics, power and fame, why so often it's linked to infidelity. Dr. Drew Pinsky weighs in on the reason why. Is it that the power lead to this kind of behavior or is it something else? Is the drive that propels some men to seek fame and power, that same drive, does that lead them to cheat? It's an interesting idea from Dr. Pinsky. We will talk to him.

And later, breaking news: the man on the right now believed to be bin Laden's successor. We will tell you who he is and whether the new acting boss could be as dangerous or more even dangerous as the old one.

First, let's also check in with Isha Sesay.

Isha, what are you following?

ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, late word tonight from the battle for Libya, an update for the fighting in Misrata -- what rebels are up against and reports of an attack on a NATO warship -- that and more ahead on 360.


COOPER: Breaking news tonight: new details on top of the stunning news that Arnold Schwarzenegger fathered a child out of wedlock with a member of the household staff. "The New York Times" reporting tonight the boy is about 14 years old, several friends telling the paper the mother was working around the house while pregnant at the same time that Maria Shriver was pregnant with her own youngest.

Now, we have seen a lot of politicians of course caught cheating and lying about it, but Arnold Schwarzenegger's deception of his own family over the course of many years is, nevertheless, pretty surprising.

Dr. Drew Pinsky believes that it's not the power and fame that leads some men to cheat, as lot of people think, but it's more complex than that. He believes the thing that drives some men to become famous or powerful is an impulse which also drives them to cheat sometimes. He will explain that in a minute.

But, first, Tom Foreman with some of the other politicians we have seen who have done this as well.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even in the midst of this sex scandal, the former California governor has plenty of company.

BILL CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I did not have sexual relations with that woman.

FOREMAN: Ever since President Clinton was caught fooling around 13 years ago, Internet rumors, cameras everywhere, and the public appetite for dirt have outed dozens of public figures for indiscretions.

Among Republicans, such scandals have had particular impact. Former House Speaker, now presidential contender Newt Gingrich led the charge against Clinton, but twice had affairs of his own. Senators David Vitter and then Senator John Ensign likewise have defended conservative family values, but Vitter was linked to prostitutes and Ensign cheated on his wife.

And when the Governor of South Carolina Mark Sanford was found with his Argentine mistress, not on the Appalachian Trail...

GOV. MARK SANFORD (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I -- I have been unfaithful to my wife.

FOREMAN: ... his wife suggested he take a hike.


FOREMAN: And it's not as if Republicans have cornered the market on indiscretion.

JOHN EDWARDS (D), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Because I did not want the public to know what I had done. Very simple.

FOREMAN: Former vice presidential candidate John Edwards talked to "Nightline" about his affair with this woman, Rielle Hunter. She claimed they had a love child, something at first Edwards denied.

QUESTION: When you were running for president, you flat-out denied having a relationship with Rielle Hunter. Is -- did you give me a truthful answer? Were you telling the truth then?


FOREMAN: He later came clean and his wife, Elizabeth, now deceased, left him and took their kids with her.

Other Democrats, former New York Governor, now CNN host Eliot Spitzer paid for escorts. Former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey cheated with another man.

But it's not just politics. In sports, quarterbacks Brett Favre and Ben Roethlisberger were accused of, but never charged with misconduct. Tiger Woods went into the rough over extramarital playing partners.

TIGER WOODS, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: I was unfaithful. I had affairs.

FOREMAN: And, in entertainment, scandals have enveloped David Letterman, Hugh Grant, George Michael, and Jesse James, just to name a few.

(on camera): So, the former California governor can take consolation knowing, as a politician, an athlete and an entertainer, he's not alone. But then, when you think about it, that was the whole problem.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: All right, that's the what. For a closer look at the why, I spoke earlier with addiction specialist and HLN host Dr. Drew Pinsky.


COOPER: So, Dr. Drew, I have read some psychologists who say that men with great power and status are in fact more prone to affairs than the average person. Do you think that -- is that really true?

DR. DREW PINSKY, AUTHOR, "CRACKED: PUTTING BROKEN LIVES TOGETHER AGAIN": I think it probably is true, Anderson, but it doesn't mean, A., it's OK, and it doesn't mean the high profile or status, power status necessarily causes this.

In fact, the research that I have done on celebrities and people in positions of power show something quite different. What it shows is the kind of person that strives to get themselves in those positions may have certain character liabilities that makes them the kind of person that is prone to these sorts of transgressions.

COOPER: What's the correlation, the drive to achieve something and the impulse or whatever to cheat or to do stuff that's high-risk?

PINSKY: Well, it's a topic you and I have talked about over the years. It's narcissism. It's the need to get pumped up from the environment to feel OK about yourself, and so you have to keep achieving and achieve and get positions of power in order to feel OK when you sort of don't feel so good on the inside.

And narcissism has this liability of empathic failure, which is people with narcissism don't really perceive the consequences of their actions on other people because they don't really perceive other people's feelings very well. So, particularly in those moments where they have a very powerful impulse, it's hard for them to predict the effects it's going to have on other people.

COOPER: But that drive could apply to basically everybody who has a TV show.


COOPER: So, not everybody who is on TV acts out in this way, though. What makes the difference?

PINSKY: That's absolutely correct. Well, the difference is that liability.

And my point is and the part that I find most disturbing is that the public at large will often be rather dismissive about this and say, oh, guess what, somebody who is in a position of authority, some male who makes a lot of money is acting out sexually.

Yes, we get that. But does it make it OK? It is not OK for many reasons. It says something deep about their personality functioning, about their value system. But, also, this has such a rippling effect on everybody else in and around them. People they love are shattered by this. And we have heard so much of this these days, it's almost becoming normative, and that background noise affects our kids.

This is the warning I want to keep putting out to people right now, is, they need to discuss this with their children. This behavior is not OK. If they want to behave like this, they shouldn't take a vow and they should do all this before they get married, or not get married.

COOPER: What I don't understand, though -- I understand a famous person doing this. Look at the behavior of somebody like Charlie Sheen or something. But somebody who is running for office, whose entire livelihood depends on being seen as being honest and making promises with the voters in a compact with voters, to do this while you're running for office -- we have seen it with John Edwards. We have seen it with -- you know, look, when Eliot Spitzer was governor, obviously, he had the problem that he had.

Why would somebody in political life, of all places, when you're under that microscope, do this?

PINSKY: It boggles the mind, doesn't it, Anderson?

And I would have basically two answers. One, is, sometimes, it's sexual addiction. Sometimes, people, just like with any other addiction, they're in denial. They don't really under -- they don't perceive again in the moment the consequences of their actions.

But more often than not, it is a sense of entitlement, of being special, of being sort of in -- sort of -- really sort of being entitled to this sort of thing. And some of the reasons why they're in the position they're in makes them feel like they are entitled to this.

And the fact is, they're just not. And for those of us not to discuss it and not to dismiss it further enhances their sense of entitlement.

COOPER: Is there a sense, though, of -- does the danger of it, does the forbidden-ness of it add to the appeal of it or the attraction of it for some of these people?

PINSKY: For -- sometimes. Some of my patients, it is in fact the intensity. You know, with sex and love addicts, like, if you remember the South Carolina governor that left -- had the woman down in South America, that was classic love addiction.

COOPER: Right.

PINSKY: And, yes, it's the intensity of the experience more often than not that some of these guys are attracted to.

COOPER: Well, you call it love addiction -- love addiction. Isn't that just being in love?


PINSKY: No. This is some -- listen, think about how wild that was. He had never met her before. He had developed this wild sort of fantasy about who they were together.

That's sort of -- if you read about love addiction, that's a pretty classic case of that.

COOPER: We have got a text 360 question from a viewer in Michigan.

They ask, "What I want to know is, why do smart, successful women put up with it?" which is obviously a good point. We have seen this time and again.

PINSKY: Yes. Yes. And the fact -- Anderson, this is what I was talking about on my show today, which was, A., the women that put it with up who is the spouse that get cheated upon, and how about the women that do the cheating?

We need to hold them accountable a little bit for this as well. And they often play a very strong role in this little dance we call infidelity.

But I will tell you this, that the women that stand by the men, we should not be critical of them. In my world, I deal quite a bit with sexual addiction. And in the reality, a majority, a significant majority of the partners with the sex addict will stay with that person. And in treatment, that relationship can be restored.

Now, the situation with the Schwarzeneggers is such a sad story, I would wish and hope that they would stay together and get treatment and look to restitution of their relationship and their marriage. The problem here in their case, though, it sounds like this has been going on for some time, and things have just hit their last straw.

COOPER: Interesting stuff.

Dr. Drew, appreciate it. Thank you.

PINSKY: My pleasure. Thanks, Anderson.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Well, coming up tonight, more breaking news. Will this man, the man on the right, be the new leader of al Qaeda? That's the word we're getting tonight, that in the wake of Osama bin Laden's death, he's been chosen caretaker leader of al Qaeda -- what we know about him next.

And, later, the head of the International Monetary Fund on suicide watch tonight at New York's Rikers Island jail, accused of trying to rape a hotel maid. Tonight, we have new details about how his alleged victim and how Dominique Strauss-Kahn's lawyers are trying to get him out from behind bars -- details ahead.


COOPER: The breaking news tonight on al Qaeda, al Qaeda has appointed an acting leader following the death of Osama bin Laden. He's an Egyptian named Saif al-Adel, a onetime Egyptian special forces officer who has long played a prominent role in al Qaeda.

Want to get more details from CNN national security analyst Fran Townsend, who is a member of the Homeland Security and CIA external advisory committees, and, in Washington, Pentagon correspondent Chris Lawrence, who has new details tonight on the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

Fran, let's start with you. This guy, Saif al-Adel appointed interim leader of al Qaeda. What do we actually know about him?

FRAN TOWNSEND, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY ANALYST: Well, he's a -- he's a well-established senior person within the ranks of al Qaeda. He goes back to pre-9/11, being with bin Laden in Afghanistan. He was a trainer in training camps in both Afghanistan and Somalia. He was behind -- he's indicted here in New York in federal court for his role in planning the East Africa embassy bombings in 1998. Because he was with bin Laden in Afghanistan, he probably had knowledge of the "Cole" bombing in 2000 in Yemen.

This is a guy who goes back to the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which was responsible for the assassination of Sadat. He's got -- he sort of -- his whole makeup...

COOPER: Was he one of these guys who also ended up in prison with al-Zawahiri, because that's, a lot of people say, where Zawahiri formed a network?

TOWNSEND: You know, I don't know if they were in jail together. They were certainly part of the same organization. And it's likely that they served in jail together. But I don't know for certain, Anderson.

And so this is a guy who has spent a good deal of time -- after the Americans started bombing in Afghanistan, he fled to Iran with two of bin Laden's sons. He was there with his wife and his family for a number of years. It wasn't until the last year and a half or so that he got out of Iran, where he was held in sort of house arrest, and then went back to Pakistan. So he's been a member of the military council, their shura, their ruling council. And he's got a lot of sort of military experience.

COOPER: Is it still a possibility that al-Zawahiri might have actually assumed the reigns of al Qaeda?

TOWNSEND: Absolutely. You know, we talk about bin Laden. Members of al Qaeda would swear fiat (ph), that is allegiance to bin Laden himself personally. And so the new leader will have to have those senior members of the shura, the ruling council, and other members, swear allegiance to him.

The question is, he doesn't have bin Laden's charisma. He's known to be a difficult personality. This allows him, basically, time to shore up his political base inside al Qaeda.

COOPER: Chris, I want to turn to these new details that you were getting tonight about the raid that killed bin Laden. What new details do you have? What have you found out?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anderson. We've now learned that for every one of the about two dozen SEALs that assaulted that compound, there was another SEAL close by as backup.

Remember when we heard that President Obama had to update the plan, because he wanted the SEALs to be able to fight their way out of that compound, if necessary. Now we know how many backups there were.

Well, we also know that the helos, both of those Black Hawks were never meant to touch the ground. One was supposed to fast rope some SEALs into the compound. The other was going to drop the other SEALs on the roof and outside.

But because they were so concerned about Pakistan finding out about this mission, they used these stealth helicopters. And one of them ran into trouble and clipped the edge of the wall. That's when they had to scramble the plan.

Originally, neither one of those helicopters was supposed to touch ground. It was only supposed to take two minutes to get the SEALs on the ground. And they were counting on the fact that, because it's so close to a Pakistan military base, people would just think whatever sounds they heard were just the normal comings and goings of Pakistani helicopters.

Also finding out that there were more than a dozen children all throughout this compound and that it only took about 15 minutes to get to bin Laden. The rest of that time was spent trying to blow up that downed helicopter.

COOPER: There's also new evidence that came from the compound that suggests that bin Laden was planning attacks on the United States, right?

LAWRENCE: Exactly. That he was not only in the loop but that he was actively communicating and trying to plan attacks, Anderson. One of them concerns new evidence that they now have, taken out of that compound that shows Osama bin Laden was in communication with the al Qaeda group based in Yemen. That's important, because it's that group that has planned many attacks recently on the United States itself.

Think back to the failed attack on Times Square, that bomb last year. Think of the plans to put explosives in printer cartridges on supply planes bound for the U.S. All of that was planned in Yemen. Now we know that Osama bin Laden was in contact with that group.

What they're now trying to do is pinpoint whether he was actually in contact with the group's leader, Anwar al-Awlaki.

And when you look at some of the attacks that were planned for Europe, Osama bin Laden's involvement seems to go even further. A U.S. official was telling us that he was not only aware and supportive of some of those attacks but, quote, "he was trying to motivate his operatives in Europe." He was literally pushing them to try to attack Americans in Europe -- Anderson.

COOPER: Interesting stuff. Chris Lawrence, appreciate the new details.

And Fran Townsend, as well. Thanks, Fran.

Just ahead, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the International Monetary Fund, the IMF, a guy who was -- people said was the likely next president of France, on suicide watch tonight in New York from Rikers Island jail. We're going to have the latest on the sexual assault allegations against him.

Let's check in first with Isha with a "360 Bulletin" -- Isha.

ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, levies along the Mississippi River appear to be holding, but water diverted through spillways to spare New Orleans is still rising. Here's what it looks like in Morgan City, Louisiana. Lots of water where it's not supposed to be. John King saw it firsthand.


JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: This water is not supposed to be here. Right now, up to about my chest. If I walk out here, it drops off pretty quickly. As you see, it goes down. It's pretty slushy and mushy underneath me. Cuts off pretty quick as you go down this way. If you look out at this deck right there, that's where the river is supposed to begin. The river is supposed to begin right there. And all of this land on this side would be dry.


SESAY: Well, officials say flooding has forced more than 4,000 people in Louisiana and 5,000 in Mississippi from their homes.

In Libya, seven people were reported killed in fighting in Misurata, with dozens wounded. Meantime, NATO denied a state television report that Libyan armed forces struck a NATO warship during a shelling exchange.

State police in Maine are trying to identify the body of a young boy found near the Maine-New Hampshire border over the weekend. They said they were exploring a possible military connection in the case. They also released a photograph of the boy's shoes, black sneakers with pictures of Lightning McQueen, a character from the film "Cars."

And a landmark gesture on a day for the history books. Britain's Queen Elizabeth II laid a wreath in Dublin's Garden of Remembrance. She is the first British monarch to visit Ireland since the country gained independence in 1921, Anderson. A massive security operation underway: 8,000 police officers on the streets to keep her safe.

COOPER: I had no idea she's the first monarch to visit since '21.

SESAY: Yes, yes.

COOPER: That's amazing.

SESAY: It is absolutely amazing and really touching scenes today in the Garden of Remembrance.

COOPER: Isha, thanks. We'll check in with you shortly.

A quick program note on a story that we've been following closely. Eman al-Obeidy attracted worldwide attention when she walked into a hotel lobby packed with international journalists and accused Libyan security forces of gang-raping her. She's now living free in exile, as we told you before. She talked to CNN about what it's like to have left Libya, to have gotten out, escaped and what she feels about her alleged attackers and much more. Tomorrow on 360, we'll have Nic Robertson's full interview with the freed Eman. Here's a quick preview.


EMAN AL-OBEIDY, ALLEGED RAPE VICTIM (through translator): I was telling myself to defy them. These animals cannot sleep without punishment. I must speak out, no matter how much people will talk about me and would blame me and would ask how could a Libyan woman and a Muslim go on the media and say this? All these things did not matter to me.

COOPER: We'll have Nic's full interview with Eman al-Obeidy tomorrow on "360."

Still ahead, though, tonight, new details about the woman allegedly attacked by Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund, a man Forbes calls one of the world's most powerful people.

Plus, what he is facing inside New York's Rikers Island jail tonight. He's on suicide watch awaiting his next court date. Confined to an 11 by 13 foot cell. More details ahead.


COOPER: Well, in "Crime & Punishment" tonight, the International Monetary Fund, the IMF, says its chief, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, does not have diplomatic immunity in the sexual assault case against him in America. And tonight, there is growing pressure on him to step down from the IMF.

The former French finance minister is accused of sexually assaulting and trying to rape a maid in his New York hotel suite over the weekend. He was denied bail. He's being held in jail on Rikers Island, where he's been placed on a suicide watch as a precaution.

I talked earlier with Deb Feyerick and CNN legal analyst and "In Session" host Sunny Hostin.


COOPER: So Deb, you've been following the case all day. What's the latest that we know about the alleged victim?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We know that she has a 15- year-old daughter. She's been working at the hotel, the Sofitel, for about two, 2 1/2 years. She was there legally.

The lawyer describes her as a woman who is dignified, intelligent, somebody who really has no agenda, no pretense, somebody who got along well with supervisors and her co-workers.

The lawyer also says, you know, when I asked, is this -- was this consensual, could this have been consensual, as the defense attorneys seem to suggest, saying that this was not a forced encounter, the lawyer said, "No, absolutely not. This event has traumatized her. She's afraid to go home, afraid to go to work, and just -- her future is uncertain right now, Anderson.

COOPER: And she comes from Guinea in West Africa, correct? And she has a good employment record at the hotel, correct?

FEYERICK: Exactly, exactly.

COOPER: Sunny, yesterday the defense seemed to suggest that the assault maybe never happened, that he had an alibi. In court they -- they now imply that the sex did occur but that it was consensual. What do you make of that kind of morphing of the defense strategy?

SUNNY HOSTIN, "IN SESSION" CORRESPONDENT: This is a very fluid situation. Just as the prosecution is continuing investigation, so is the defense. And in a case like this, Anderson, where only two people were in the room -- there are no other witnesses to what happened -- the only two defenses are one, it's consensual, or two, there's an alibi and it never happened.

So it's not unusual for the defense strategy to be morphing, to be evolving, to be changing.

COOPER: Deb, do we know anything about forensic evidence? That would obviously -- in a case where there's just two people in a room, that would actually, you know, obviously be incredibly important. Do we know if there is forensic evidence?

FEYERICK: There is forensic evidence. One prosecutor I spoke to said who's interesting about this is, while the presence of semen is important, it's not necessarily a slam dunk.

For example, it doesn't show that there was a forced encounter of any kind. Forensics were sent out, forensics both of the woman but also of Mr. Strauss-Kahn. Those have not come back yet, but they will be presented to a grand jury. We're being told that the grand jury is going to be listening to this case and deciding whether to vote by Friday as to whether this should go forward, Anderson.

COOPER: And what do we know -- now know about this young journalist in France who's accused Strauss-Kahn of sexually assaulting her? Is she considering pressing charges?

FEYERICK: Well, she has connected with a lawyer. She is looking into the charges. She has been quoted as saying that she really should have gone forward with this at the time it occurred.

The big question now, everybody is sort of watching to see whether other women step forward to say something similar happened to them. Obviously, when you have something that's so high profile like this, there's always a possibility that it could trigger some sort of a waterfall almost, Anderson.

COOPER: Sunny, what's the next step in terms of the legal process?

HOSTIN: Well, as Deb mentioned, I'm hearing also that the grand jury has been convened and is determining whether or not they will indict him. May 20, this Friday, is the control date, and that means if he has been indicted, the charges will be read and he will enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. If he has not been indicted, they will set another date.

But the bottom line is, there's no question this Friday that the defense will reapply for bail. They're going to try to come up with a situation that is palatable for the prosecution, palatable for the court so that he is no longer being held at Rikers Island. That may include maybe a $1 million to $2 million bail. That may include an ankle monitoring, you know, bracelet. Some sort of situation that gets him out of Rikers. That is certainly going to be their top priority.

COOPER: Deb, he has a daughter, I think, who lives in New York. So it could be, you know, that he has to stay in the city. Would that be a possibility?

FEYERICK: Absolutely. He could stay in the city. Right now we are told -- obviously, he's at Rikers. He did have one visitor, but the Department of Corrections would not say specifically who that was.

We are also told, Anderson, that he was put on a suicide watch. Doesn't mean he's suicidal, but because he's such high profile -- this is a guy who's used to meeting with prime ministers and power brokers and presidents. He's isolated now by himself. And so as a precaution, they have put him on suicide watch, and they're checking on him about every 15 minutes.

COOPER: It's unbelievable. Deb Feyerick, appreciate it.

Sunny Hostin, as well, thanks very much.


COOPER: Well, as Sunny said, getting Dominique Strauss-Kahn out of jail would be a top priority for his lawyers on Friday. Now remember, this is the man "Forbes" magazine named one of the most powerful people. To say that his life has changed dramatically in just the last 72 hours barely begins to capture it.

Mary Snow has a look tonight. We have new details of what he's facing right now at Rikers.


MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Inside these walls, Dominique Strauss-Kahn now spends his day in an 11 x 13 foot cell. Most prisoners share barracks with about 50 beds in them. Because of his high profile, a prison spokesman says he's separated from other inmates.

It's a far cry from the luxury suite at New York's Sofitel Hotel where he stayed before his arrest, with some rooms going for as much as $3,000. While hotel guests there were offered a breakfast choice of a five-ounce black Angus sirloin steak with eggs, or maybe Eggs Benedict, along with a morning cocktail such as a $20 glass of champagne Pomeret, breakfast at Rikers consists of one apple and banana, a box of Mini Wheat cereal, two pieces of toast, milk, coffee or tea.

Strauss-Kahn will be eating alone and won't have contact with other prisoners, who number 13,000 to 14,000 on any given day. Attorney Ron Kuby, who's been visiting clients at Rikers for decades, says things have changed since violence dominated the jail in the early '90s.

RON KUBY, ATTORNEY: Its name is synonymous in popular culture with brutality, with brutality, with corruption, with jailbreaks, with people banging cups on bars. None of which is true anymore. But it still exercises a very powerful hold on the imagination.

SNOW: Most of the inmates there are waiting to go on trail and can range from low-level drug dealers to murderers. Mark David Chapman, who killed John Lennon, was once held there. So was David Berkowitz, a.k.a. the Son of Sam serial killer.

In recent years, rapper Little Wayne spent some time there on a weapons possession charge. Strauss-Kahn is able to leave his jail cell, says a prison spokesman, and can go outside for an hour a day but will be escorted by a corrections officer. Inside, he's allowed to periodically walk around his housing area corridor where he watched TV.

KUBY: Everything is difficult. And the most difficult thing, I think, for any particular person is to deal with the -- the dehumanization, because you're just one of 13,000 people, and to deal with being cut off from the outside world.

SNOW (on camera): In his first day at Rikers, a corrections department spokesman says Strauss-Kahn had one visitor but declined to say who it was. Inmates here can have three visits per week, up to three people per visit, and that's not including attorneys who are given access to their clients on any given day.

Mary Snow, CNN, New York.


COOPER: Well, still ahead tonight, Bernie Madoff is locked up, serving more than 100 years in prison, but his liquid assets are out and up on the auction block. We'll show you some of them, ahead.

And don't you hate it when people talk loudly on their cell phones in a restaurant or on a plane? Well, tonight, this story winds up one woman on the "RidicuList." A 16-hour cell phone conversation. We'll tell you where she was chatting it up.


COOPER: Coming up, the "RidicuList." The lady who was arrested after talking for 16 hours nonstop on her cell phone on an Amtrak train. That's tonight's "RidicuList." But first, some of the other stories we're following. Isha Sesay is back with a "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Isha.

SESAY: Anderson, a U.S. official say more sanctions will be announced against Syria in the next 48 hours. Doesn't matter if the new pressure will get Syria to stop its violent crackdown on peaceful protests.

Billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros dumped nearly $800 million in gold during the first quarter as the precious metal soared to record heights. The sales suggest Soros doesn't expect prices to rise much higher.

And Anderson, here's a story for you. It's your chance to get a bottle from Bernie Madoff's booze collection. Online bidding begins tomorrow on nearly 300 bottles of wine and liquor from his mansion in Palm Beach, Florida. Now, the live auction will be held on Miami on June 4, with proceeds going to a fund for victims of his Ponzi scheme.

Do you like your wine, Mr. Cooper?

COOPER: I really -- I mean, a glass now and then. But I know nothing about wine. I get so nervous in the restaurant when, like, you're supposed to know and I have no idea.

SESAY: That's all right.

COOPER: I leave it up to the waiter.

SESAY: That's what I do. There's a fine batch here, they tell me. A 1996 Chateau Motel Ristard (ph)...

COOPER: Oh, yes?

SESAY: Yes. Great starting price.

COOPER: Four-fifty, la-ti-da. How much is that?

SESAY: Three thousand two hundred -- between 3,200 and, say 800 for the lot. But you get six bottles for that, they tell me.

COOPER: Six bottles for 3,000 something dollars?

SESAY: Look, don't shoot the messenger. I'm only imparting the information to you.

COOPER: I'm going to hang out with Kathy Griffin's mom and drink some wine by the box like she does. That's the right idea.

SESAY: Tip it. That's what I say.

COOPER: Tip it, exactly. She wrote a book about that.

SESAY: Did she?

COOPER: Time now for the "RidicuList." And tonight, we're adding a woman named La'Keshia Beard (ph), but you can just call her the Cell Phone Lady. That's because, according to authorities, she talked loudly on her cell phone while on an Amtrak train nonstop for 16 hours.

Now, police say Cell Phone Lady started talking on her phone when she got on the train in Oakland, California, and did not stop until she was escorted off said train in Salem, Oregon, 16 hours later. What can someone possibly talk about for 16 hours? Even if I had been held captive 20 years and was seeing my family for the first time, I could fill maybe an hour or two, but 16?

When she was taken off the train, Cell Phone Lady was charged with disorderly contact. That's right, she got charged, just like her cell phone. And the best part of all: Cell Phone Lady was riding in one of Amtrak's designated quiet cars. Sure, if you're going to be yapping on your flip phone, why -- who wants to be surrounded by others yapping away with all their stupid talk? Head to the quiet car so you can talk in peace.

And get this: when other passengers complained to Cell Phone Lady, she got into a verbal altercation with them and kept talking on her phone. Portland news station KATU wanted to interview Cell Phone Lady after she got arrested. She wouldn't go on camera, because she said she didn't feel well. I'm guessing she had a sore throat but she did talk to a reporter briefly on the phone, of course. Cell Phone Lady told a reporter that she felt, quote, "disrespected by the entire incident." She felt disrespected.

Look, maybe she's innocent and the whole train was just ganging up on her. I don't know. But am I the only one who has no sympathy for people who talk on their cell phones around other people loudly? How many times have you been in a situation like this: you're on a plane or a bus or a train or a restaurant or a line or in a taxi or on the street or the escalator, in the gym, or just about anywhere these days, and someone is yammering into their phone loudly and completely oblivious to those around them. I've heard lawyers talking about their clients. I've heard women revealing details about the date they had the night before, while I and numerous others are forced to listen.

The idea of being trapped on a train for 16 hours with someone talking on a cell phone, it's -- to me it's much more disturbing and creepy than anything Alfred Hitchcock himself could imagine.

If there were cell phones in Hitchcock's day, "Strangers on a Train" would have been a much different movie. Think about that. She was on the phone for 16 hours. In 16 hours, you could watch the movie "Throw Momma from the Train" 10.9 times in a row. You wouldn't -- you wouldn't, of course, be able to pay any attention to it, because Cell Phone Lady would have been talking the whole way through it.

But still, in 16 hours, you could watch 32 episodes of "Soul Train." Or you could listen to the Clash song "Train in Vein" approximately 320 times back-to-back. All of which I'd rather do than sit on a train with someone talking loudly into their cell phone for 16 hours. It would almost be impressive, being able to talk on the phone that long, if I could just set aside the whole Fifth Circle of Hell aspect to it.

The way I see it, there are only a few viable reasons to disturb everyone around you by talking on this phone, and it certainly doesn't take 16 hours to make those kind of calls. Calls like "My flight's delayed," "Send an ambulance," "Do you have bail money?" So please, people, stay off the phone when you're in public. It's rude and it's a sure fire way to get you a ringing endorsement on the "RidicuList."

A lot more ahead at the top of the hour. We'll be right back with the breaking news.